LONDON (Dec. 11)
Lord Mancroft, the Jewish business leader who resigned from the Norwich Union Insurance Company’s board under Arab boycott pressure, rejected today an invitation from the insurance firm to return to the board.
The offer of reinstatement was made in a formal statement by the big insurance company yesterday at the same time that British Government spokesmen condemned the Arab boycott and blacklisting of British firms in sharp debate in both Houses of Parliament.
The British peer turned down the offer in a letter to the company’s president. Sir Robert Bignold, in which he wrote: “I am sure the implications of your invitation will be understood both at home and abroad. I feel, however, that after all that has happened, my re-association with the Norwich Union could not lead to a proper working relationship. I must therefore with regret decline your offer.” The peer told reporters later that he did not wish to add anything to his letter.
The incident continued to have repercussions, including a conference last night of ambassadors in London of 12 Arab countries at which the envoys expressed “surprise” at the statement yesterday in the House of Lords by Lord Carrington, Deputy Foreign Secretary, strongly disapproving pressures exerted by Arab embassies in London against British firms suspected or known to be trading with Israel. The statement also was made in the House of Commons.
The 12 Arab envoys issued a counter-statement that their respective Governments “are the sole judges” of the envoy’s activities. The ambassadors emphasized that they were “not prepared to receive instructions or remarks except from our governments.”